Sometimes a guy just can't catch a break. Two blocks away from the site of the destroyed World Trade Center buildings, now referred to as Ground Zero, a mosque and an Islamic community center are planned much to the consternation of a mostly bigoted group of people.
And these people have been protesting.
"It's not a question of building a mosque. It's where they're building it," said Glenn Corbett, a former Waldwick deputy fire chief.
"It's insensitive to the 9/11 families because Islam's faith was so central to the actions of 9/11," said Corbett, who also drove to the protest rally, held on a plaza across from Ground Zero where families have gathered in recent years on the anniversary of the attacks to mourn loved ones.
"A Mosque at Ground Zero Spits on the Graves of 9/11," one placard proclaimed. Another sign depicted a toilet, with this message: "This is a Mosque. Do You Want it Built at Ground Zero?"
Two Christian men journeyed a long way to join the protest against building a mosque so close to Ground Zero, but for some strange reason they weren't accepted by the rest of the crowd.
At one point, a portion of the crowd menacingly surrounded two Egyptian men who were speaking Arabic and were thought to be Muslims.
"Go home," several shouted from the crowd.
"Get out," others shouted.
In fact, the two men – Joseph Nassralla and Karam El Masry — were not Muslims at all. They turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christians who work for a California-based Christian satellite TV station called "The Way." Both said they had come to protest the mosque.
"I'm a Christian," Nassralla shouted to the crowd, his eyes bulging and beads of sweat rolling down his face.
But it was no use. The protesters had become so angry at what they thought were Muslims that New York City police officers had to rush in and pull Nassralla and El Masry to safety.
"I flew nine hours in an airplane to come here," a frustrated Nassralla said afterward.
Welcome to America, fellas. In a recent interview, Stephen Hawking made a fascinating observation. (The quote is about alien life forms coming to Earth, but at the same time, it's not.)
"We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet."
Kind of like what these two poor souls ran in to.